1. What most excites you about meeting your readers across America?
Meeting the wide range and diversity of people who have responded to my books, people from all walks of life, all religions, races, cultures, from varsity wrestling team members to hipsters to CEOs to middle-aged accountants to octogenarians. It is always a reminder to me, when I meet these kaleidoscopic demographics, of the ability of fiction to connect people through the expression of basic, common human experiences.
2. You’ll be on the road for five weeks—what are you planning to bring to read on your tour?
I have already bought a few books for just that purpose and they are now sitting on my desk! Some are new, some are older books that I have always meant to read and never got around to. They are:
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
Dear Life by Alice Munro
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Not sure I will get through all of them, but I will knock off a few.
3. What do you like to do with your downtime during your book tour?
I read. I exercise, if I can find the time. I watch parts of movies. I call home. I try to write but never can. I end up reading a lot.
4. What do you pack in your suitcase that might surprise us?
I always pack—though I never end up wearing it—my SF 49ers cap, which I consider my good luck hat. Also, I have started taking guitar lessons (as a show of solidarity, really, with my son), and sometimes I will pack a small travel guitar for practice on the road. (A bit of parental trickery is at work here, of course; i.e., if I can find time to practice on a national book tour, then my son can find twenty minutes in his day to do the same. Sometimes you have make people feel so bad that they’ll do the right thing.)
5. What are your children reading right now?
My daughter, who is ten, is reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
My son, twelve, just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.